Giggs plays in Nev testimonial

Press attention on Giggs, 37, intensified on Monday when he was

named in Parliament as the married footballer involved in a

controversial privacy case. Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming used

parliamentary privilege to name him as the Premier League player

who took out an injunction over his alleged relationship with

28-year-old reality TV star Imogen Thomas. A tame question about

the veteran Welshman during a press conference ahead of Saturday’s

Champions League final with Barcelona led to Sir Alex Ferguson

threatening to ban a journalist from future briefings. Now police

are investigating an incident that occurred near Giggs’ home in

north Manchester, in which a number of vehicles belonging to

members of the media were attacked. Amid that maelstrom, Giggs

probably found the football pitch a place of peace. It certainly

appeared so as he drove the low cross into Wayne Rooney’s path that

put United ahead in Neville’s testimonial against Juventus. Rooney

had been a surprise inclusion and the striker lasted half an hour

before he was replaced, along with Giggs and Paul Scholes. The

latter duo are members of the famed ‘Class of 92’, of which Neville

was also an integral part. With Nicky Butt, Phil Neville and David

Beckham also reporting for duty, the sextet boasted an impressive

3,323 United appearances between them. For Beckham in particular,

it was an emotional night as he pulled on the famous red jersey for

the first time since he left for Real Madrid in 2003. The reception

Beckham received was, if anything, more enthusiastic than the one

afforded to Neville. At times, it was like the years being rolled

back as the pair combined down the right flank, as they did so

often for the Red Devils in their prime. Michael Owen, who played

so often alongside Neville and Beckham for England, nodded one of

the full-back’s trademark crosses over. Owen also blazed over from

a Bebe cross not long after Simone Pepe had equalised for Juve.

Anderson and Rafael were introduced after the break, when Beckham

curled a trademark free-kick narrowly over from the edge of the

area. Neville’s night ended after 83 minutes, the former England

full-back leaving the field to a well-deserved standing ovation. By

that time, Manuel Giandonato had curled home a superb winner for

Juventus with an angled free-kick.